9th months down

I literally cannot believe it’s been nine months since these girls entered the world. They are such joys and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to mother them. Your children really are mini-catalysts to you becoming who God meant for you to be. They position you to be molded and shaped in a way that no other role can accomplish. My constant prayer is for wisdom and that I interact with them in such a way that they have a standard of how they should treat themselves and allow others to treat them as well.

dinner stareRaising another human being is heavy. The effort and energy it takes every single day is unimaginable. Not only to make sure they are fed, bathed, etc…… but, responding well. My real goal is that I raise girls who love & enjoy themselves, Jesus, each other, me, their dad, and others. Really that’s my goal. I feel that if they can do that – they will be kind, giving, compassionate, assertive, forgiving kind of people who know their standards, limits, and boundaries. Small steps, big goals.

Over the past month the girls have accomplished quite a bit:

Both girls have stood alone.

Both are eating stage 3 and some table food.
(Hello, table side guacamole & avocado rolls!!)

Both girls love playing in the mirror together.

Both girls are fantastic eaters.

Both girls are still sleeping through the night.

Both are babbling up a storm… seems like they’re starting to chit chat with each other!

Both still only have 2 teeth!

They love to explore together and independently.
They love following each other and joining the other at the mirror or at whatever toy they’re playing with.

We’ve seen a lot of growth… A lot of change.

We’ve grown out of the baby tub, so we are now taking baths in the bathtub. But, we found the most clever idea on the wonderful Instagram. Laundry basket baths!! So fun!! They are taking baths together for the first time in life which is so fun for them! They played with their little bath toys and had a great time splashing each other. Laundry basket baths are nice because they are so much safer. They can’t fall over from playing and losing their balance and they don’t have to go after toys. Definitely a win in my book.

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And, their baby bath soap, California Baby…. Amazing. My friend gifted this to us during our weekend visit and it is nothing short of amazing. It is truly calming, smells fantastic, and is all natural…. So, chalk up another win in the bath department. I’m so grateful for the introduction. I plan on stocking up on the entire line! This specific soap is a soother …. after a warm bath with this soap, lotion, a bit of lavender oil, and snuggles – they’re OUT. And, sleep so well! It’s definitely worth the buy!baby bath

I’m planning on starting them on ProBio5, the all-natural Plexus probiotic, upon doctor’s approval. So, I’m really excited about that!! Gut health is so important and if I can give them going in the right direction now, it may prevent allergies, food intolerances, skin inflammations, auto-immune diseases, and a plethora of other things. Plexus’ probiotic has been a game changer for me, there’s no way I wouldn’t give the girls the same opportunity for a healthy body, as well!

mama daughtersMy most favorite role I’ve been given yet.
Thankful everyday for these girls.

 

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mom-xausted

hammock2That’s a real thing, by the way. Mom-xausted. It’s exhausted on a whole new level. And, it’s real.
It’s an adjective.
It’s getting things done with no real understanding of how you’re being efficient and effective.. but somehow you are.
It’s due to taking care of everyone else. It’s because everything really isn’t ever done.
It’s wrangling a kid or two or five or feeling like you’re chasing chickens after a long day of working & doing.

It’s what makes us mamas so amazing. So necessary. So beautiful. So hard.
But, so stinking fun!!

The girls went to their first “age appropriate” birthday party this past weekend and had a blast. They have friends who are twins and we helped them celebrate their 1st birthday!! Cutest theme ever – a play date! All of the kids had so much fun!!

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Dami did an amazing job planning the most relaxing and fun event that everyone (kids specifically) were able to enjoy!! There were food trucks, Sno-cones, a s’more making station, arts and crafts, a quiet room for napping/feeding (which we took advantage of) and just lots of hanging. It was perfect! Toys were everywhere to complete the “play date” theme! Logan and Rhyann loved the “ball pit” – totally creating one of these at home. 
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School has been in for 2 full weeks now and I’m adjusting to so much…. between the girls’ new sitter, a busier and earlier morning routine, to working a full, insanely busy day, after school meetings/conferences/practices/games – I’m whooped by 6p. Our after work festivities are basically cut short. It’s tough to even have the energy or drive to go anywhere because I’m so tired and then the girls are ready to for dinner by about 6p. So, I have to literally mentally prepare myself and prep for the girls ahead of time. And, spur of the moment after work dinners or errands are a thing of the past. So, needless to say, I haven’t been to Target in a while.hammock

I have to admit, I adore picking them up from the sitter every afternoon. They’re so excited and literally attached to me when we make it home. There’s lots of time spent cuddling and kissing and hugging and lap sitting on the floor before we get ready for dinner. I’m thankful that they’re such easy babies. They play before wanting dinner about 6, will play some more before we get ready for baths and our last bottle. They’re generally down before 9p. And, while they’re great sleepers and will generally sleep through the night, they still have nights where they’ll cry out or lose their paci’s but they’re back to sleep within minutes. I’m proud of the fact that I have a great night time routine down that’s easily managed by myself, I’m mom-xausted but feel so….. capable. I’m thankful. When Thomas comes in, he’s on night time duty and tends to them if they ever wake up. I never hear them so that’s nice! lol. But, you know the funniest things? If we’re party of 3-ing it up, I can hear their every breathe in my sleep, I guess it’s knowing that back up’s available that makes is easier to rest well. (read: become dead to the world)shared paciI’m loving watching them grow and develop their relationship. (Can I say that anymore than I already have?) Last night before bath (hello dinner all over the place), this happened – Logan swiped Rhyann’s paci. And, of course she cried. lol. They also “followed”each other around our bedroom and bathroom. It was really sweet. I love it. I love it. I pray over their relationship so tough; wanting them to truly be the best of friends and always having each other’s back and each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

This mothering gig isn’t easy but it’s definitely worth it. Every exhausted ounce of it. These girls are worth all of the hard work, the dedication, the long nights, early mornings, hard moments that mature our faith & person. Providing for them in every way is motivation enough. Beyond material things, I want to be able to provide them with wisdom, insight, strength, a Godly perspective, a model of faithfulness and dependance on God…… an example.

… hope you mamas are enjoying the seasons you’re in and fighting the urge to wish your babes older. The next stage or two ahead always seems easier or better or a lot more fun in some way or another, right??? (especially with twins) … But, I can’t help but want them to stay this little for a bit. Mainly because wrangling two walking one year olds seems like havoc, and I won’t lie and say I can’t wait for them to grow up a little bit (I can hardly wait to hear their thoughts!) but at the sometime… can’t quite say that I want this phase to pass too quickly. I love where they are and look forward to watching them grow in due time!

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marriage. redemption. hope.

FullSizeRenderY’all when I say I’m tired. I really mean I’m whooped. I really mean that I have a ton and a half of things to get done and I can barely function. I mean that my ability to feel is at an all time low and smiles are rare. I mean that I’m emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted. I’m seriously only getting by with a whole lot of screamed and whispered prayers and the belief that Jesus knows that I know his promises to me won’t fail even when I disobey and suck at responding in the right way. That when I don’t have the energy to pray or to speak or to function the Holy Spirit is doing all the work for me.

My girls are a banging 8 months on Tuesday and they are rocking right along. I’ll spare the details of all the fun stuff they’re doing until I post about their 8th month but know that I don’t have the energy to care that my kids aren’t reading or know body parts or signing the three words I’ve been working on for 8 months (well, I am a bit salty about that one) because I mean, they’re 8 months. I’m trying to keep them as little as I can for as long as I can. But, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at the droolly, chubby goodness of my 6 month olds.

IMG_3656We took family pictures a couple of months ago for the girls 6 months photos. It was supposed to be their photoshoot alone but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get pictures of us all during such a sweet time. So, just about everything went wrong but I think everything also came out perfect. They were miserably hot the whole time and barely smiled. At least I’ll never forget their annoyed faces. Awesome. 🙂 

The photoshoot was a bit awkward because Thomas and I have been walking through what can only be described as the fiery pit of hell for the last year and a half. I’ve been fighting for my family like mad but things don’t always work out the way we want them to. For a moment, I looked at these pictures and saw evidence of reconciliation and redemption. Of  hard work paying off. Of all the weight and stress being worth the new found habit of grinding my teeth and functioning pretty much as a single parent. Worth enduring and the persevering the ugly, painful, and humiliating.IMG_3641
It’s swallowing the yuck and waking up ready to dig your heels in and work not knowing what the day will bring. It’s not understanding the chaos that’s happening around you but still needing to function for yourself and your kids. Still needing to work and friend and mama and sister and be wholly present in every role that you play without allowing the heart hurts of life to distract you or cause you to be anything other than what God calls you to be everyday – a peaceful, joyful, kind, loving, and nice. Besides, being nasty never made any situation easier to deal with.

“I’m too busy to worry about this….” – how I learned to let go. Thankfully. Because I was. And, I still am. While a marriage should be the one thing in your life that gets the largest percentage of your energy and efforts, for me it was very much like tossing out buckets of water while holes were being drilled at the bottom of the boat. That I had no time for. I was busy being productive…. I could and did accept a lot for a long time, but with accepting came a lot of worry, frustration, disappointment, sadness and everything negative that prevented me from showing up when I needed to.IMG_3634-2But, it’s a marriage. It’s a commitment. It’s a union of two very imperfect, sinful people who are trying to get it right. Two people who desperately need the Lord. Two people that have quirks and wants and feels and habits and dark places that they don’t always understand. Two people who have hurt and are hurt. Two people who have to practice patience, forgiveness, living with understanding, respecting, honoring, and selflessness. Two people who own fault and responsibility for every step of this life we have together – the good and the bad.

The real deal is that happiness isn’t always found where it “should” be found and it doesn’t look the same to everyone. Finding & holding onto it doesn’t always happen as smoothly and seamlessly as you think it might, like you dream it would. Especially if you’re a hopeless romantic and watch Disney movies your whole life.

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But, then reality kicks in and even movies like Dear John, The Notebook, and The Vow disappoint you when you finally come to accept that the characters are real people living out fake lives of fake people. (Although The Vow was based on a real life couple and I will forever believe Noah really does exist.)….. life doesn’t happen like that all the time. And, if it does, when redemption actually occurs and a couple is able to come back together and make things “right”….. it takes a lot more time, effort, and forgiveness than a 180 minute movie can show. It requires a lot more work that the producers are willing to reveal. And, commitment to a person who is literally making you want to peel the top layer of your skin off is never going to be enough. Ever. You’ve got to a have a resolve and commitment to something greater that helps you to get through the muck – whatever your muck looks like, you can get through it. But, never on your own, never without a world/life view that requires more of you than pleasing yourself. It’s just a matter of want to and a game plan. Toss in a couple of kids and priorities shift is even greater. My goals weren’t so much my happiness for it’s own sake, but my sanity so that I could mother well with self control, integrity, peace and joy. So learning how to do that in the midst of insane chaos has been difficult but so good at the same time. Of course I wanted (and still want) my family to be intact but intact/miserable/dysfunctional/stressful didn’t look as attractive as co-parenting/peace/joy/security.

Right now, after a lot of counseling. Some time a part. A lot of exposing. A lot of struggling. A lot of growth. A lot of pure crap….. I’m still working. and, really hoping that this time will be the last time we have such a hellacious year. IMG_3602-2-Edit

At the end of the day, life happens and things fall a part no matter how great our efforts are – we (as people) are selfish sinners. I still believe that all things work together for good… I still believe that God has this epic plan for our lives that will bring him so much glory…. I believe that the Lord wants for us, expects for us to be light, and peace, and salt, and joy in the darkest, most chaotic, the nasty, and hateful parts of our lives and the lives of others around us. We can do it. We can do it because he offers it to us – it’s simply a matter of us reaching out and taking what is offered to us by Christ himself. We aren’t all taught how to be peaceful in chaos, but we can learn. We can learn to be givers, we can learn to be thoughtful, we can learn how to do what’s necessary in order to live a God honoring life. Not knowing how to do something should never stop us from putting in the effort to do better.IMG_3666

As with newborns, there’s no New Owner’s Manual when you marry and have to learn to live with your mate. Just as you have to learn to adjust to parenthood, understanding your child, and figuring out life with a new little life, you have to do the same with your spouse. Learning as you go gives you the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with both your spouse and God, so…..it’s beneficial in the end.

The rough part about marriage is that people change over time and they don’t always communicate these changes well or even understand them. Our sinful nature can take root and guide us down paths we never intended to go. And, it’s scary – for both sides. I believe the general assumption is that we’ll all grow and mature and move forward in life.. when you’re married, the hope is that you move forward in the same direction and at the same pace. The assumption and hope is for peace and love and happily ever after; understanding that it takes more work for some than others, we don’t compare yards but do what we have to do in order for our yard to be at it’s best. That we want our yard to be at it’s best. Assumption. IMG_3631-2

The truth is that relationships requires a vulnerability, honesty, and transparency that can be difficult to accomplish when there’s personal confusion and chaos, when personal demons show up. When we aren’t comfortable and confident within ourselves. But, it can be. And, regardless of what happens, I believe that, too. It’s more of an issue of willingness than ability. Be willing. Be willing to work hard and be peaceful. Be willing to trust God with it all and stand in his shadow as he works things out. Even when there are days that I know we both are still here because its easier, God’s grace covers us. We are always covered and that grace has kept us…. even through the pits of hell.

What Thomas and I have realized is that we friend really well… a lot better than we husband and wife. I’m hoping that we can learn to find some sort of balance so that we can husband & wife just as well. But, until then……. we work and work and work.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know thatthe testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

And, because it’s important, you can find the girl’s outfit here:
Crowns: Love Crush Bowtique
Onesies: Lola and Darla
Moccasins: Potato Feet
(mama made the tutus… sorry! lol)
Both my skirt and top came from Dao Chloe Dao!!

And, Christin Armstrong (@christinshootspeople). Always.

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